Stewardship 2012
by Amy Haynie
I grew up Southern Baptist.  I was taught that giving God 10% was the minimum that was expected of me.  The pastor and deacons were never afraid to talk about or ask for money.  Amazingly, that’s not why I left the Baptist denomination.
When I met and married David, we attended the local Episcopal Church.  David had been raised Episcopalian and I fell in love with the liturgy and rituals.  I was intrigued by a Stewardship season – it just seemed so adult-like: asking people to pledge what they could give in time, talent and treasure and then trusting them to follow-through.  In the beginning though, I thought about Stewardship as only about money and only happening every October.
In early 1998, I began to understand Stewardship in a whole new way.  I was part of a Stewardship campaign that asked us to think about how we were blessing God with our donations, and how we were ultimately blessing ourselves in making the gift.  It’s a difficult thing to think about, but I liken it to going to NavajoLand each summer.  I have no idea if the Dine’ children feel blessed by my presence, but I know that I feel blessed to have been there.  When I have gone to feed people at a homeless shelter, I know that I have left there feeling guilty about how blessed I feel by being able to serve them.  While I was feeding their bodies, they fed my soul by letting me serve them.   What a privilege it is to see God at work in the world and then be able to participate!
I definitely feel more blessed when giving: time, talent or treasure.  I now know that stewardship is a year-round discipline, and 10% is a worthy goal that most of us work toward.  It is in the constant cycle of blessing God and others with my contributions that I find myself blessed too.  Be blessed.